Common Core Standards
What are Common Core standards?
Currently, each state has its own academic standards – meaning that students across the country are learning at different levels.
Common Core standards in English-language arts (ELA) and math will help ensure that all students are prepared for college
and career in core subjects.
This initiative is being led by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association
(NGA) with the participation of 48 states (including Pennsylvania), two territories and the District of Columbia. The main
goals for this consortium are to create standards that are “research and evidence-based, aligned with college and work
expectations, include rigorous content and skills and are internationally benchmarked”.i
The Common Core will be developed in two phases and result in K-12 standards in ELA and mathematics. The first phase
included the development and validation of college and career-readiness standards (completed in November 2009) which
outlined the expectations for students upon completion of high school.ii The second phase is the development of standards
from kindergarten through grade 12. These will be released in March 2010. A state and public comment and review process
will precede the final release.
What process will Pennsylvania use for adoption of the Common Core standards?
Along with the other 48 states, 2 territories and D.C., Pennsylvania has agreed that the Common Core will represent at least 85
percent of academic standards in reading and math.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Education plans to adopt Common Core academic standards in ELA and math conditioned
on two assumptions: (1) the State Board will be provided ample opportunity to conduct a thorough and public vetting of the
Common Core that will support successful implementation; and (2) the Common Core will be no less rigorous than the
revised state-level standards the State Board was in the process of adopting.
To meet the August 2, 2010 target for adoption of Common Core identified in Pennsylvania’s Race to the Top (RTTT)
application, the Board must pursue an expedited regulatory promulgation. This process will begin in March with a thorough,
independent study that compares Common Core with the state’s existing standards framework in reading and math. The
results of this study will be presented at a public meeting of the Board and posted on its website.
Following completion of the alignment study, the Board’s Academic Standards Committee will hold a series of public
roundtables across the Commonwealth to gather feedback on the Common Core and suggestions for successful
implementation should the Board adopt the Common Core. In addition, the Board will invite written comment from
education stakeholders, policymakers and the public. Any action on adoption will be preceded by two weeks of written public
Where can I go for additional information?
The Pennsylvania Department of Education will continue to provide updates on its website.
In addition, the Common Core website – www.corestandards.org – maintained by CCSSO and NGA provides information
regarding the standards review and validation process, work and feedback group members, as well as drafts of the standards,
summaries and presentations.
i See www.corestandards.org.
ii The college- and career-readiness standards are available at http://www.corestandards.org/Standards/index.htm.